BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Berkeley County's Animal Control Department will assume control of animal shelter operations in the county beginning Feb. 1.
The reason for the change was the county's unsuccessful efforts to "negotiate a long-term contract renewal with the current provider of services, the Doc Williams SPCA," according to Berkeley County spokesman Michael Mulé.
Last summer, ahead of the contract's pending renewal date, the county sought bids from vendors, but Doc Williams SPCA was the only vendor to submit a bid, Mulé said. Their bid for renewal would have raised the county's expenditure by nearly 50 percent of the existing contract.
The county declined that contract, but offered in July a six-month contract extension with a 10 percent monthly cost increase, Mulé said. That contract extension expires on Jan. 31.
"We are fortunate that the Lowcountry has a diverse group of organizations and individuals passionate about the care and well-being of animals," Mulé said. "The County looks forward to continue working closely with these organizations with an eye toward a possible regional animal care center in the future."
In addition to Animal Control officers, staff is now being hiring by Berkeley County to ensure the same or greater level of care is being provided for the animals.
Because of the changes, voluntary animal owner-surrenders will not be accepted at the Cypress Gardens Road facility between Feb. 1 and March 1.
"While we certainly wished the outcome of contract negotiations would have ended differently, Berkeley County is committed to providing genuine care and ethical treatment of the animals in its care," Mulé said.
The county says anyone interested in working in these efforts, be it as a paid employee or as a volunteer, should contact its Human Resources Department.